Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 53: Embarking on a new year, hitting the ground running :)

Heya peeps!
Ah! Its finally come! And gone... I am officially a senior missionary in the England Leeds Mission! I sure don't feel like it though... Sometimes I feel like I'm still a greenie! We didn't have much time to celebrate my anniversary on Saturday, however, so we celebrated with some epic, urgent knocking! Elder Brewerton and I raised the stakes in our knocking by literally by trying to knock as many houses as we could within the space of 2 hours! We literally ran from house to house, collecting our composure each time a door opened! It was so much fun! And we knocked three whole streets within the space of the 2 hours we had!
I've received a few questions about some of the investigators we are teaching, including Chris, the woman we met a few weeks ago. Chris is doing great! She's still a bit nervous about baptism, which is great! It means that she is definitely taking it seriously! She came to church this past Sunday, and once again really enjoyed it! She is progressing very nicely towards her baptismal date, and is patiently awaiting her baptismal interview, which will likely happen within the next few weeks! She is still reading the Book of Mormon and praying each day, and she loves having Elder Brewerton and I come over to teach :)
Also this past week, I was able to go on exchange with Elder Patterson, from Michigan, who arrived in the field from the Provo MTC the same transfer as Elder Brewerton. Elder Patterson, however, was called to preach the gospel in the Chinese language, which he learned to speak fluently. There are many Chinese students studying at the University in the Middlesbrough area (where I was on exchange) and I had the opportunity to teach several Chinese students! (In English, of course) not only that, but Elder Patterson and I popped by a Ukrainian family, and I was able to once again teach in the Russian language! (They speak Russian in Ukraine) I was a bit rusty, and had to brush up a bit on my Russian notes, but it was certainly a fun experience, and the Inva Family was lovely :)

Funny story, so in the very beginning, after they allowed us into their home (which was for the first time) the father, Vladimir, started talking to me in Russian. I could understand most of what he said, but unfortunately I confused a couple words. The word crusc (croo-sk) means cup, in Russian, and its very similar to the word coffee. So I thought he offered us a cup of water, to which I happily agreed. So his wife got up, and began to make us something. Elder Patterson and I became very excited, thinking they were making us a Ukrainian meal. All of the sudden, I smelled the pungent scent of coffee. My heart sank. This was definitely an ''oh no,'' moment ha ha. About ten seconds later, Vladimir's wife comes out with a tray of four cups of coffee. It gets worse. Vladimir stands up (he is a very large man, mind) and very proudly describes what they have made for us. ''Ah yes, very expensive Italian coffee. If its too hot, here is some milk for you.'' Elder Patterson and I looked at each other, and then I said. ''Oh, no, I am fine, thank you.'' Vlad replied '' Niet, niet, it is tradition! Drink! Drink!'' ''Oh, no thank you, yesvini, yesvini.'' (Which means, I'm sorry, I'm sorry) The father, confused, looks at his wife, who thankfully shrugs it off and offers us water as an alternative. We gladly accepted. Ha ha TRAGEDY AVERTED! Elder Patterson and I definitely had something to laugh about afterward :)

Ah! not only that, but I had some of the best Chinese of my life! We had a tea appointment with one of the Chinese investigators preparing for baptism, named Yun Shen, who took us to a really nice restaurant in town called ''Mandarin''. Let me tell you... The food was amazing!!! There was fish, duck, chicken, pork beef, all complete with their own unique flavours and spices! Ah! It was amazing! I must say though, that the fish we had, could have very well been the best tasting fish Ive ever had in my life! It was amazing! And the best part... it was all paid for by our investigator! It wasn't cheap, either ;) Ah, it was exquisite :) See all the pictures for this week (I included a picture of the fish, after eaten)
Well, that's about it for this past week, now I'm about to head over to meet up with Elder Gravallese and have a proper celebration of the year mark!

Thanks for your prayers, love and support! I really appreciate every one's encouragement!

I just thought I'd give a couple shout-outs!
Special thanks to my beautiful mom, who emails me love each week without fail!
Special thanks to my inspired dad, who sends me letters that strengthen my testimony! Happy Birthday!
Special thanks to my fantastic siblings, who send me pictures of life, and to David, who keeps me updated on whats going on (not to mention, is taking good care of my car while I'm gone!)
Special thanks to the loyal Karstin Lake, who constantly updates my missionary blog!
Special thanks to my bbfff Logan Jones, who keeps me updated on the latest ''gossip'' ha ha
And a very special thanks to everyone who constantly prayers for me! I can testify that I can feel your prayers aid me in this work!
Take care everyone! Til next week!
Elder Gabriel G. Spencer

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